RIFT Concept Art: The Many Iterations of Volan

RIFT Concept Art Volan Feature Image

We all know and love Volan – he is the last of the Karthans, imprisoned behind a steely cage for years, writhing in anguish over his sins. He is the creature that steps on us twice, breaks a wall and traps himself in-between four, conveniently shoulder-height rooftops.

But was he always a laser-mounted, belt-wearing gorilla?

No, he was not.

In fact, Trion’s Concept Art of Volan spans many iterations. There were numerous initial variations of what Volan and even his prison would look like brought to us by ex-Art Director and Concept Artist Herman Ng. Let’s take a look!

The Volans That Never Were

RIFT Concept Art - Volan Iterations 1

Volan Iterations 1

There were a large variety of Volans that just never made it. Only one could be chosen! I like to imagine the other Volans are Volans that come from one of the numerous alternate universes.

In the first image above you will begin to notice that Herman Ng has a love for stabbing Volan with a giant sword. It appears again in many of the other possible Volans below.

  • The third image from the top could go quite well with Goboro Reef in 3.0 Nightmare Tide – it has a fire-based feel to its gaping underside and firey wings, but also a water-based feel to the tentacles and fins making up its underside. Wouldn’t it be nice to have him as a boss in 3.0? (hint hint Trion).
  • The bottom-left image is quite eerie – looks like some demon-horned spirit (Shi-Ming?) crucified on a mechanical monstrosity.
RIFT Concept Art - Volan Iterations 2

Volan Iterations 2

More amazing concept art by Herman Ng.

RIFT Concept Art - Volan Iterations 3

Volan Iterations 3

The third image with even more potential Volans. Here there seems to be a focus on making Volan be made of flesh but wrapped around with armor whereas some of the previous images had him as a clear cyborg.

Interestingly, the bottom-left image’s arm-connector at the very top is similar to Lady Glasya’s ornament, although that is very likely a coincidence:


RIFT Concept Art - Volan Iterations 4

Volan Iterations 4

The fourth image holds what finally became our version of Volan in the top-right corner. Not as interesting or ‘ghoulish’ as some of the others but perhaps Trion felt it connected with the character more. There’s likely also modelling, animation and game-play concerns to consider.

Volan, the One and Only

RIFT Concept Art - Volan

RIFT Concept Art – Volan

The final concept art before modelling begins! Some variations and details added since the initial drawing, displaying both armored and unarmored Volan as we know him.

Ever noticed the details on the Pillars protruding from Volan’s back? You should check them out next time you fight him in Ashora!

The Prison

RIFT Concept Art - Volan Jail

Volan’s Prison

Volan’s Prison itself had numerous variations. It is possible that each of the initial variations of Volan may have received its own version of the prison.

The largest image to the left does seem slightly different to what we see in-game (there’s no ‘stairway and pedestal with altar’ on the Live version, for instance). However, this could very well be what it looks like ‘on the inside’ before Volan turns around and is released.

Modelling and Thereafter

RIFT Concept Art - Volan Armored Model

Volan Armored Model

With Concept Art completed, ex-Lead Character Artist Hai Phan created the in-game model and added in the textures to create what we know as Volan.

RIFT Concept Art - Volan Unarmored Model

Volan Unarmored Model

They ended up making the bone protrusions in the knees as well as the chest much smaller, perhaps to sit better with the armor and for performance purposes. He also wears pants in the final version.

Video Volan

Want to see a 360 degree view of Volan, both in and out of his gear? Hai Phan has a video to satisfy your needs which displays Volan in all his glory, and some other creatures.

You can check out more of Hai Phan’s work here.

Nightmare Tide

RIFT 3.0: Nightmare Tide is coming at some point this year (2014).

Will we see another Volan?

Thus far Trion has mentioned that resource-allocation is aimed more towards making multiple bosses compared to a single, large encounter like Volan. [r]

However, MikeD did mention the following:

I love Volan, too, and making him was a lot of fun, but encounters like those are quite expensive. We chose to spend those resources on a wider variety of boss characters this time around. That said, there’s a particular colossus in development right now that has great promise, and I’m looking forward to what we can do with him.

[Source: MikeD]

So there will be an interesting colossus, but whether or not it is on the scripted scale of Volan is yet to be determined.



Hope you enjoyed checking out the Volans-that-could-have-been and the real Volan in all his digitally painted, 3D and animated 360 degree glory!

As for RIFT 3.0: Nightmare Tide; we’ll just have to wait and see what Trion has up their sleeve.

Interested in checking out some more RIFT Concept Art? Check out our RIFT Concept Art Tag.

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